It Cost Google One Billion Dollars to Keep its Search Bar on iPhones

By Gizmodo on at

Google’s search bar has been a fixture on Apple devices for years, something that’s always seemed counterintuitive, what with Android being iOS’s only real competitor. According to Bloomberg, Google’s search engine is only exists there because of a $1 billion payment made to Apple in 2014.

Bloomberg found the details in court proceedings from an Oracle vs Google lawsuit. Oracle has been fighting Google since 2010 over the search giant’s use of Oracle’s Java software in the development of Android. Somewhere along the way, Oracle’s lawyers got their hands on internal Google finances, which were brought up in open court, before Google’s attorneys pleaded to have the transcript redacted and sealed.

According to Oracle’s lawyers — and neither confirmed nor denied by Google’s side — Google paid Apple $1 billion (that equates to around £701,000,000) in 2014 to keep its search bar on Apple devices. The two companies then have a revenue-sharing agreement to split any profits Google makes from Apple’s devices, although the breakdown is not known.

Google search might seem like an iPhone staple, but it’s interesting to see what this implies — if Google suffers a lean year and doesn’t give more cash to Apple, you could be back to Yahoo search on your iDevices.

In the same court case, Oracle also alleged that Google has made $22 billion (£15.4bn) in profit to date from the Android operating system. The company doesn’t break out Android-specific financials from its main business, but the documents claim revenue of $31 billion (£21.7bn) and profits of $22 billion (£15.4bn). Given that revenue is solely from selling ads and apps, it’s a hefty figure, but still only equal to about half a year of selling iPhones. [Bloomberg]


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